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Colorado Voters Still Strongly Support Civil Unions Bill Killed By Republicans

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Andy Schmidt and his 10-month-old daughter Nora attend a rally supporting Civil Unions at the state Capitol in Denver on May 14, 2012. Colorado lawmakers were called back into a special session on Monday to vote on several bills including Civil Unions. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
Andy Schmidt and his 10-month-old daughter Nora attend a rally supporting Civil Unions at the state Capitol in Denver on May 14, 2012. Colorado lawmakers were called back into a special session on Monday to vote on several bills including Civil Unions. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

According to a survey released by Public Policy Polling last week, Coloradans are still in favor of the bill that legislative Republicans killed in May that would have given same-sex couples the right to form civil unions.

Of the 779 likely Colorado voters PPP surveyed between Aug. 2 and Aug. 5, 57 percent support the civil unions bill while 37 percent oppose it. That is a very slight uptick in support for the bill since the last poll PPP did on the civil unions bill back in June which found 56 percent of Colorado voters would have supported the bill if it would have passed in the legislature, with 38 percent opposed.

PPP reports that the change has a lot to do with surveyed Republicans who have moved slightly more in favor of the bill -- from 65 percent in opposition to a 27 percent in support back in June to only 59 percent in opposition and 34 percent in support now in August.

60 percent of independents and 79 percent of Democrats still support the bill.

In May, despite bipartisan support and the bill's successful passage through the state Senate and three House committees, House Republicans, led by Speaker of the House Frank McNulty (R-Highlands Ranch) -- a practicing Catholic who refuses to even use the term "civil unions" -- refused to call up the civil unions bill and let it die as the regular legislative session ended.

McNulty caught national criticism for the move to let the clock run out on more than 30 bills. On her show, Rachel Maddow gave McNulty flack for going against the wishes of the American public (Watch the clip below):

So there was almost progress for gay couples in Colorado from third class citizenship to second class citizenship yesterday but the Republican speaker of the house took a stand and stopped that progress killing 30 other pieces of legislation in the process. Whew, close one.

If you follow the issue of gay rights in public policy you know that public opinion has been shifting on this subject. Support for same-sex marriage rights in polling has been going up and up and up, but public opinion shifting on this issue has not affected most Republican politicians. In fact, the most visible Republican politicians in this country have become more anti-gay over time.

A special legislative session was then called by Gov. John Hickenlooper to address multiple bills, including civil unions, that many felt were not given a fair debate. "Transparency, accountability and the virtues of good government are compromised when the legislative clock is used to avoid consideration of important legislation. We owe it to the people we serve to do better," Hickenlooper wrote in a letter to the state legislature in May.

However, House Speaker McNulty was unmoved and assigned the civil unions bill to the Veterans and Military Affairs committee, called a "kill committee," where it ultimately died at the hands of state Republicans the same month that President Barack Obama publicly announced his support of same-sex marriage.

More than a dozen states allow civil unions or gay marriage, including several states that passed bills in 2012.

Also on The Huffington Post

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